Around The World At Home

Globalt's Bill Roach has a new way to play international markets

He lives in landlocked Atlanta, and doesn’t necessarily believe that things go better with Coke. Globalt principal Bill Roach, however, is looking far beyond the seas when he says he thinks the soft drink company has locked onto an important source of earnings growth: international trade. “Eighty percent of the world’s goods and services are sold out side of the U.S.,” notes Roach, “and when you consider that 19 of every 20 consumers live abroad, you want to be in U.S. companies that have a strategy to tap into growth overseas.” In fact, he won’t invest in a stock unless 20% of a company’s revenues come from beyond U.S. borders.

Studies show that consumption of Coke climbs when the revenues in a given country grow and citizens have more discretionary income to spend. In the U.S., the average person gulps down 363 bottles of Coke a year, a number that hasn’t grown much over the last 10 years. Look overseas, however, and Coke figures to be on an upward march: in Japan, the figure hovers around 144; in India, about three. As for China, the average person downs a mere five bottles a year; but with 1 billion thirsts to quench, all indications are that figure should skyrocket.

Foreign fortunes draw Roach to big multinational names that have spent years mining for revenues across the oceans. “We’ll certainly buy into the big pretty companies like Procter & Gamble, Intel, Nike and Microsoft,” he says, “and with the European economy starting to strengthen, we’ve been angling towards companies that stand to benefit from an upswing there.” Globalt has posted an average annual gain of 18.77% since January 1, 1991, versus 17.37% for the S&P 500. The firm now manages over $900 million for 50 institutional clients. Roach also helps manage the Globalt Growth Fund (800-831-9922). The fund, which was launched a little over a year ago, has returned investors 19.09% as of March 31.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) leads Roach’s list of long-term picks. “They are not only a leader in manufacturing the operating systems and infrastructure that help the Internet run, but they get approximately 40% of their revenues from overseas,” he says. The company’s earnings are projected to grow at 35% a year.

A salesforce of more than 2 million representatives worldwide helps make Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) a winner in Roach’s eyes. “They operate in over 80 countries and have targeted developing regions like China, Russia and Latin America for growth,” he says. “It’s a strategy I like because as those economies prosper, people will spend more money to look good. And, Avon isn’t just selling cosmetics, they’re marketing jewelry as well.”

Citicorp (NYSE: CCI) is striving to conquer the world. “They’re aiming to be the local bank in every spot they do business,” Roach says. Citicorp, with 54% of revenues coming from overseas, has spread its reach near and wide, 14% of sales coming from Asia, 19% from Europe, 13% from Latin America, 4% from the Middle East and Africa, 2%

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